Even the most sport-averse amongst us are drawn into the four-yearly jamboree that is the Olympic Games. It’s an inspiring and impressive few weeks, with some 205 nations taking part in 300 events across a host of venues – and that’s not even counting the Paralympic Games that takes place a few weeks later.
This year the Games come to Europe, as London plays host for only the third time since 1908.
For the planning team, making sure everyone can be involved – whether they’ve managed to get their hands on a much-coveted ticket or not – is crucial for ensuring maximum enjoyment all-round. That means informing and engaging fans and spectators with up-to-the-minute information that they, in turn, can share.
Whether it’s broadcasters from across the world streaming live video direct to the Internet for all to enjoy, or hoards of crowd-members eagerly tweeting or updating Facebook via their data-hungry smartphones, pressure on Internet infrastructure will be sky high.
Mobile company Vodafone has predicted the data rise will be equivalent to ‘England playing in the World Cup Final on Christmas Day, every day for the 17 days of the games’. Now, that’s impressive!
These ‘exceptional’ events are becoming more and more common. Last summer, the British royal wedding led to a 42% surge in data traffic – and in 2009, the death of pop legend Michael Jackson was described by an AOL spokesperson as ‘a seminal moment in Internet history.’
It’s up to companies like AT&T as well as governments to accommodate these changes to the way people consume and communicate – not just for landmark events but every day. After all, data demand is rising in non-peak times too – up 20, 000% in five years on our wireless network alone.
So private funding is key. That’s why we’ve invested $95 billion in our networks over the last five years.
But even that isn’t enough. More spectrum – the lifeblood powering wireless Internet – will be crucial for making supply meet demand 365 days a year, and, of course, for providing Olympic revelers with limitless and seamless wireless access throughout the Games.
As James Blessing of Britain’s Internet Service Providers Association points out, ‘Hopefully, no one will notice a thing – we win if no one notices anything.’